Are Smartwatches a Security Risk?

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Smart watches are one of the most popular devices gifted over the holidays. While they are extremely useful and make great gifts, they may  lead to cybersecurity concerns. Let’s consider some of the possible threats smartwatches present for IT administrators.

Smartwatch Personal Data Protection

A smartwatch can do a lot of things for a person, and for the most part, are not too expensive for what they are. This makes them a very popular gift. They are known to cause problems for users and businesses, alike, however. In fact, most smartwatches that have been tested all had some type of vulnerability. Some will transfer data without encryption, some have built-in problems with their device encryption, and some are just downright insecure.

 

Although many of these vulnerabilities don’t present an immediate threat, the amount of personal data that each device has after a period of use can present problems for users and businesses. If you are planning on using one of these devices regularly, you should understand that you may need to change the way you do certain things to ensure that your data is not leaking. Here are a few tips:

 

  • Never use unofficial apps – Sometimes users will “jailbreak” a device to provide access to applications otherwise not available. This can exacerbate the already flimsy security surrounding your smartphone. Only get your from the official Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or from the manufacturer of the smartwatch.
  • Do not jailbreak your phone – If you want to use a smartwatch, the connection with your smartphone drives the services you use.  Don’t pair a smartwatch with a jailbroken phone as it increases your risk.
  • Do not connect devices directly to your watch – Since there are built-in vulnerabilities for many watches, it’s important to choose options that prioritize security. If your plan is to use your watch as a hub to control your other smart devices, reconsider. The lack of encryption  provides a direct pathway for hackers breach your system.
  • Keep your smartwatch OS and other apps updated – Like any other piece of network-connected software, regularly updating security is a great way to ensure your security.

Smartwatch Risk for Businesses

Chances are that your business is already set up to deal with because you already have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) plan in place.  This strategy will help you manage the growing number of computing endpoints looking to access your network directly or through a mobile device (e.g. smartwatches ).

 

A well thought out BYOD strategy will ensure that you also have the solutions in place to scale as your employees plan on bringing in additional smart devices. Securing endpoints and monitoring data flow will be important strategies to consider in the days and years ahead.

 

If you would like to learn more about how smartwatches and the threat they pose to your business network, call the IT experts at Ashton Technology Solutions. We can help you put together a BYOD strategy that can ensures that you can maintain security while still acquiescing to the IoT devices your staff may bring into the office. Reach out to us today at 216-397-4080.